Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The stained glass, if you have it. The pews, too. None of them in my home, but at church. At church, in the sanctuary. The color of the wood. The brass. The candles. The cross. The font. The altar. The bread. The wine. Jesus in, with and under. Jesus, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, at the turning of the year. Jesus.
There is comfort in that. Promise that one stakes one’s entire life upon; faith trusting in that which is not seen. Not heard. (Yet and yet seen, embodied everywhere, it seems. Countless places. Heard in countless voices, true). One may catch one’s breath there; find that taken together, a gentle rhythm that robes us in the warmth of familiarity.
There the cross, font, altar, bread, wine, there Jesus, but not only there. The sound of singing. A few notes dancing. Grace notes that bring us higher, deeper, heart, soul and mind.
It could be enough at the turning of the year, a counterpoint to what ails us. What ails the world. Our wounds need healing. Deep healing.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” and maybe we like to cling to the notion that this “unchangingness” of Jesus can hold other things the same, unchanging, preserved. Something else to hold on to when so much else is crumbling, proved impermanent, built on sandy soil, muddy ground, the cliff’s edge; as if we truly need what we desire, something else.
But strip it all away, and there is Jesus. Nothing else left, needed, worth our clinging to, worth our hope, our heart, our all.
Strip it all away, let the winds of time blow, the waters eroding by drips and drops and raging torrents, and, see, nothing else lasts, nothing else worthy. Just Jesus.
We are creations made new in Christ. New and being renewed. Dying, rising, living and free to live without the binding of fear, the nothingness of death, the smell of clods of earth and wilting flowers. And at the turning of the year that should bring no small comfort, our being made new, the old gone and thankfully so. You and I made new and daily being renewed, in Christ.
And so we turn at the turning of the year. We turn away from the sin that clings, that whispers our secret fears, that masquerades in visage that delights and repulses. We turn away from the foolishness of false gods and blindness of the suffering of others, of blaming victims, of judging, of the dust speck in another’s eye, of failing to see what is right before us, the Lord in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the incarcerated, the voiceless, the marginalized, the broken.
We turn away from what we do and fail to do, from the standing idly by, the silences; we turn in repentance, in hope, in promise, to Christ, whose mercy never fails. We turn and turn and turn.
At the turning of the year.